BOSTON - January 4 - The American Civil Liberties Union today vowed to redouble its efforts to keep discrimination off the ballot and out of the Massachusetts Constitution following a state Constitutional Convention that kept alive a proposed amendment to deny equal marriage rights to thousands of Massachusetts families. The amendment, which required only 50 votes out of 200 to move forward, will now face a second round of consideration in 2007 or 2008.
"We are deeply disappointed that a small group of legislators pushed this discriminatory measure to the next stage," said Carol Rose, Executive Director of the ACLU of Massachusetts. "But we remain confident that the incoming legislature will understand that all citizens of the Commonwealth deserve equal protection under the law."
More than 8,000 couples have married since the Supreme Judicial Court ruled in 2004 that the Massachusetts Constitution ensures equal rights for all residents of the Commonwealth, including the right to civil marriage.
"Two-thirds of the legislature understood the importance of keeping discrimination out of the Massachusetts Constitution," Rose said. "And tomorrow a new set of legislators will be sworn in, increasing the number of lawmakers who support equal rights under the law for all Massachusetts residents. We look forward to working with them to ensure that all families in Massachusetts are treated with respect, dignity and equal protection of the law."
"We are grateful to the many legislators who voted to stop this discriminatory amendment," she added, noting that both House Speaker Sal DiMasi and governor-elect Deval Patrick showed great leadership on this issue. "We remain confident that history is on our side, and that supporters of equal rights ultimately will prevail."